16 November 2008

The Sepia Sorrow of So. Cal

You might have heard that Southern California is experiencing the worst series of fires in forty years. I’m in the middle of the Santa Monica and West Los Angeles Sprawl, so I’m nowhere near the many brush fires, although I know many people at work who are dangerously close to them.

A horrible, choking red smoke has covered all parts of the city; when I went out to my car this morning, it was covered with ash. Staying outside for too long makes breathing difficult—I’ve never experienced such horrible air quality in the thirty-two years I’ve lived in L.A. I’ve decided not to go out dancing tonight because of it: bad air, few people will be able to make it, and the freeways are a mess.

There is a minor benefit to this tragedy: the alien sepia tone of the sky. My whole apartment is suffused with the light of the moon Titan. It feels like stepping into an old print of a silent film. I’ve tried to capture the appearance in this photo I took I few minutes ago. The picture didn’t quite grab the light quality, so I fiddled with it in Photoshop to make it “feel” right: